Submitted by Senator Roger Wicker
“I am encouraged by the great deal of progress happening across our state,” Wicker writes.
Each year during August, I get the chance to travel extensively in Mississippi to meet with constituents while Congress is out of session. This past month, I met with a wide range of small business owners, employees, parents, civic groups, and local leaders, some of whom are managing new infrastructure projects. I am encouraged by the great deal of progress happening across our state. However, the Jackson water crisis and our slowing economy have posed significant challenges.
Jackson Loses Water Supply
Last week’s flooding along the Pearl River and the subsequent loss of water supply has affected more than 180,000 residents in the Jackson area. Early in the crisis, I met with Mayor Lumumba to tour the rising floodwaters and discuss emerging needs. Governor Reeves soon announced the imminent failure of Jackson’s water system, and President Biden granted a federal emergency declaration. It is critical that we receive all available resources as officials work to restore water access in the capital.
As Mississippi’s senior U.S. Senator, I am hopeful that we can soon enact a long-term solution to these problems. As a direct result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I helped negotiate, Mississippi will be able to draw upon at least $429 million over the next five years to address water and wastewater problems. These funds will supplement other money that has already been set aside for Mississippi but is not yet spent. It is also clear that we need to address flooding that coincided with the water crisis. As the historic rain was falling, I hosted a group of federal officials in Jackson to discuss a long-delayed plan for flood control along the Pearl River developed by state and local leaders. I will continue calling on the Biden Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve this proposal and let us get to work.
New Projects Move Forward
Throughout my August travels, I met with builders and manufacturers who are unleashing new growth across our state. I had the chance to meet with transportation officials coordinating the construction of new highways and bridges, as well as Mississippi shipbuilders and parts manufacturers who are supplying our Navy with world-class equipment. I also visited chemical and asphalt plants, met with furniture makers, and helped mark the beginning of construction on a federal courthouse in Greenville. Additionally, I celebrated the opening of a new Adranos rocket facility in McHenry, which will build high-end rockets to help us beat China in the next space race. These and other examples of development bring the promise of jobs and prosperity to Mississippi, and I will continue to support them through legislation in Congress.
Tax Hikes Loom Over Job Creators
Despite these positive trends, Mississippians are struggling under our slowing economy. Inflation, which is near a 40-year high, continues to drive up prices. Job creators still cannot find enough workers – a problem that became entrenched with President Biden’s extended welfare benefits. Many are also rightly disturbed by the President’s decision to pay off hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt with our taxes – a move that is unfair and will make inflation worse. On top of all this, the President’s new tax hikes are forcing many job creators to rethink their plans for expansion, dimming the prospects for a recovery. With Congress now returning to session, I will continue to bring these concerns to the table as we seek solutions to our nation’s challenges.
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Submitted by Senator Roger Wicker